FIMI shakes up Gilat Satellite Networks

Former IAI chairman and Amdocs CEO Dov Baharav is expected to become chairman.

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (Nasdaq: GILT; TASE: GILT) chairman Amiram Levinberg is set to leave the company he founded and led for nearly 20 years (except for a brief hiatus midway).

"Amiram Levinberg, who is currently serving as chairman of our board of directors, is not seeking re-election," says the company's summons for a general shareholders meeting, published on Wednesday, in which the shareholders will appoint six directors, including two new directors, including former Amdocs Ltd. (Nasdaq: DOX) CEO and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) chairman Dov Baharav.

Levinberg's wish to step down apparently coincides nicely with the plans of Gilat's new and largest shareholder, FIMI Opportunity Funds, run by CEO Ishay Davidi, to change the make-up of the company's board as part of the recovery plan that FIMI is planning. Levinberg's departure is therefore a mutual decision.

Baharav will presumably take over as Gilat's chairman, given his familiarity with the company's business. At Amdocs, he amassed considerable knowledge of the mobile industry, albeit from a different direction. His experience at IAI, which builds satellites, should also help him at Gilat.

Levinberg co-founded Gilat in 1987, and was CEO in 2005-11. He is the second biggest shareholder in the company, with a 14.2%, after FIMI's 23.2% holding.

The changing of the board at Gilat is FIMI's first practical step, after it acquired a stake in the company 18 months ago. Two months ago, it bought York Capital Management's stake in the company, becoming its largest shareholder.

2013 was not a good year for Gilat. Revenue fell 13.5% from 2012 to $235 million, and it swung from profit to a non-GAAP loss of $17.9 million. It also fired scores of employees.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on April 3, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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